Success is All About Quality Not QuantityTue, 07/09/2019 - 14:36
Growth in the Merida area has led to an increase in medical laboratory offerings and related services in the region. This has forced local players to compete with larger laboratory chains, says Oswaldo Basto, Medical Director of Quimialab. “Growth in Merida has attracted laboratories from the center of the country, such as Laboratorio Médico Polanco and Laboratorio Médico del Chopo.”
Quimialab, a laboratory for clinical analysis based in Merida that offers services to individual clients and companies, is making personalized service its key differentiator against new competitors entering the market. “Service is the most important factor and it must be personalized for every client. All companies can do the same in terms of promotions and pricing, but the care and attention we offer is unique,” says Basto.
Given its local reach, Basto says Quimialab has created a strong bond with the local community, which has helped the company in terms of recommendations. “Our reputation has spread through word of mouth and we are often recommended by locals.” Even though the arrival of new players spurs competition in the local market, Quimialab is not focusing entirely on competing with large chains. “We do not necessarily see them as competition because they are still setting up operations in the region. These laboratories are well-known in central Mexico but not here. Having said that, their reputation increases as more people migrate to the southeast.”
Regardless of their popularity, Basto says that quality is a decisive factor in terms of competition. “We are certified by PACAL and have our own internal certifications. We only use reagents of the highest quality, as well. Some large pharmacy chains also provide services in clinical analysis but I do not consider them high-quality alternatives.”
Quality in medical laboratories becomes even more relevant considering the high-profile Merida has been cultivating in terms of medical services. High-tech medical services, as well as advanced medical treatments offered in the region have helped in the creation of a medical tourism industry, which creates more opportunities to reach new clients, according to Basto. “People come from Tabasco, Campeche and even Belize to get treated at Hospital Faro del Mayab and Clínica Mérida,” he says.
Medical tourism has helped Quimialab to grow its client portfolio, but Basto says the company has a strong focus on private clients and is trying to venture into the corporate and institutional arena. “Penetrating this market is not necessarily easy. We have to find the best communication channels. Many companies see laboratory analysis for their employees as a significant investment.”
Every client has different needs, which is why Quimialab has made significant efforts to diversify its portfolio. “Our clients range from an antidoping agency to a security company. Right now, we only work with small companies. We are trying to target larger players and manufacturers with local presence and more than 200 employees, like Bimbo, Pepsico and La Costeña.”
While Quimialab has a strong foothold in the local market providing laboratory services to different segments of the population, Basto says the industry still needs more coordinated efforts to guarantee access to quality healthcare in early diagnosis and prevention. “Public policy is limited. You can promote clinical testing for the population but public chains are not necessarily going to offer testing that is trustworthy and of high quality.” An example of this situation is that there are no specific efforts to support labs to meet quality standards, Basto adds.
Still, Basto remains confident about Quimialab’s capabilities and continues working on generating growth for the coming years through alliances. “We will build our brand through various platforms to reach as many customers as possible. We are working on agreements with insurance agency Allianz, the American travel company Quality Travel and the Mexico City-based company Telemédico.”